One of the subtlest, yet most important changes in marketing over the last ten years has been the acknowledgement that listening is a critical factor for success. In that spirit, we saw our recent London Roadshow as an incredible opportunity to listen to the 700+ marketers who were in attendance. With the event theme of “Inspiration in the Nation,” we wanted to understand and grab hold of the ideas that inspire and resonate with them. So what did we learn in this setting from other marketers? In short, A LOT.
Overall, the most popular ideas spoke volumes of the evolution of marketing and the growing confidence among the greater marketing community. I’m excited to share with you three ideas that created the most memorable conversations among attendees…and what we marketers can learn from them. Let’s get started:
1. “Marketers don’t create journeys, customers do.”
There are few statements which capture the essence of engagement marketing better than this. Marketing technology has provided incredible opportunities for marketers to pursue engagement marketing, which is about connecting with customers as individuals based on who they are and what they do. This means reaching customers at the right time on the right channel with the right message that speaks to them.
But it has also reinforced a belief that customer journeys are predictable and follow a linear path. Huge amounts of time and money have been invested in mapping these journeys in marketing tools, often resulting in something that visually resembles spaghetti! But as Marketo CMO Sanjay Dholakia outlined in his keynote, our role as marketers today is to support our customers as they navigate their own unique (read: unpredictable) journey. Listening and responding as they move through that journey is how we can best serve them and ultimately build long-term, durable relationships. This idea reflects the fact that marketers are recognizing the need for engagement to be at the core of their strategy…are you?
2. “Think next practices, not best practices.”
Marketing is changing at an incredible rate. It has changed more in the last five years than it has in the last 500. Stewart Conway of Jupiter Asset Management explored this theme in his presentation as he delivered 10 tips for becoming a marketing “Ironman.” Stewart explored the ways modern marketers can arm themselves for success in this time of rapid transformation.
His tips covered everything from mindfulness to sales alignment, but one tip in particular really struck a chord. The idea of disruption was central to Stewart’s talk, and he outlined why he felt that limiting your strategies to marketing best practices is dangerous. Instead, he urged, marketers should develop their own “next practices.” Best practices are those approaches which conventional wisdom suggests and which you should thus aspire to replicate. It is dangerous to focus solely on them because it means you are setting the bar at, simply, maintaining the status quo. (Who wants to do that?!)
There is no shortage of content out there for marketers around what they should be doing and how they should be doing it. But as we have already discussed, things are changing quickly, meaning that best practices which are relevant today may not be relevant tomorrow. “Next practices” is really a synonym for determining the strategies or tactics that work for your organization and using those regardless of whether these ideas are widely known or used. In other words, develop your own best practices!
The audience were certainly inspired by the thought, which really captures another overall theme from the presentation: confidence. Marketers are now in a place where they have the confidence to trust themselves and call the shots that they know work for them. This is a great place for marketers to be—the driver’s seat!
3. “The sales and marketing relationship is key to success.”
A recurring theme from our London Roadshow was the need for stronger sales and marketing relationships. A lack of sales and marketing alignment is something that has long been identified as a major barrier to successful revenue generation in B2B organizations. But based on the coverage it got from presenters and the conversations among attendees, it is clear this is still a very real challenge for businesses.
In his presentation, Bareld Meijering shared his insights from leading customer engagement transformation at Nokia Networks. He suggested that sales and marketing need to function as a single team focused on a shared goal to have the best chance of making both customers and shareholders happy. He pointed to examples of marketing delivering engagement data to sales but struggling to give sales the full 360 degree view of the customer. These are the types of challenges faced by revenue teams, and it is only through working closely and communicating regularly that they can be overcome.
What do you think of these takeaways from our London Roadshow? Do they get you talking or inspired like they did for our attendees? Please let us know in the comments below. We also have a short video of the day which captures the key themes from some of the speakers and attendees . You can catch it here. Enjoy!